Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
Activist Investor Carl Icahn is going after Apple again, asking the company to buy more shares and more quickly. We ask the question: What does Icahn actually want? Next: A company called GT Advanced is in bankruptcy court Thursday, reeling from the casualties of its relationship with Apple. It had hoped to make glass for the iPhone 6, but Apple went with Corning instead. Finally: Lego announces it won’t renew a long-standing partnership with Shell, after Greenpeace used the toys in an animated video attacking Arctic oil development. Greenpeace, they say, in effect mugged Lego to make its point about the Arctic.
The IMF had stern words for the state of Europe’s banks and the policy tools it’s used — and still using — to ease the continent out of recession. The U.S., whose approach was initially scorned by Europe, is pulling out ahead. Is that good for the global economy? For the US? Plus, unemployment is low, and job openings are now at a 13-year high. But it takes 25 days to fill a vacancy — so what's the disconnect between what the labour market is offering and what workers are looking for? Finally, Western Pennsylvania is ground zero for the battle between industry and citizens over fracking, the oil-and-gas procedure. And now it’s a battleground for the word “fracking,” as oil drillers try to reclaim fracking as a positive term.
Timothy Geithner, former head of the New York Fed is in court today, testifying about the AIG bailout. This is a big deal because the evidence he gives could change the popular narrative about how the crisis was handled and why. Plus, in an attempt to protect the rapidly growing ed-tech business and get out in front of new laws or regulations, several big-name ed-tech companies are signing a “voluntary” privacy promise, vowing not to sell student data or use it for marketing purposes. Thing is...lots of big names (Google, Apple, Pearson) aren’t there. And it’s a pretty thin promise. Finally, David Lynch is bringing back “Twin Peaks” after 25 years… 25 years during which the short-lived TV series became a cult classic among new generations of DVD viewers.
Silicon Valley stalwart Hewlett-Packard is going to divide itself two publicly traded companies. One will focus business technology, including software and services, while the other will sell PCs and printers. HP isn’t the first company (tech or otherwise) to change it’s business model of late. Plus: Reading behind the news that the JP Morgan hack was the tip of a very large iceberg, it turns out that the regulations governing disclosure of hacks to the public are full of holes. They vary from state to state, and in some cases, depending on what information has been compromised, may not require disclosure at all. Finally, as part of its latest deal with the NBA, ESPN will offer online streaming of regular season games live, even for people who aren’t cable or satellite TV subscribers. It’s a major shift in approach. We run down the questions remaining.
The unemployment rate is falling and some are now calling on the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates. Does the famous “Phillips Curve” still apply in an age where the nature of unemployment has changed so radically? Next, in the wake of JP Morgan’s admission that 76 million households were hit with a data breach, up from just a few million in August, we explain how companies determine they have been breached, the forensics that go into identifying and repairing the breach, and what this means for JPMorgan’s 76 million households. We also take a look at the world of film adaptations - Gillian Flynn adapted her book "Gone Girl" into a screenplay herself, and she's not the only author who has done the same very recently for high profile pics. It used to be pretty hard for authors to get these gigs. And, last but certainly not least, we trace the boom and bust of guar gum - a product used in everything from toothpaste to fracking.
The dollar is getting stronger. For that, you can thank the decision to roll back quantitative easing in the U.S., and the European Central Bank's decision to do more QE in the EU. Some people love a strong dollar, but others don't. We look at why the dollar's doing better, and who the winners and losers are this time round. Meanwhile, oil prices are falling in part because the global production of oil is reducing Saudi Arabia's — and therefore OPEC's — influence. Saudi Arabia was the swing state that could turn production up or down to affect prices. Now it's keeping production up despite falling prices to avoid losing foreign buyers. Plus, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is getting into the auto market. The company is buying the Van Tuyl Group, which is America's fifth-largest dealership. The purchase price is unknown, but we do know that whatever Buffett does, others watch very closely. What's behind the move, and what does it say about the auto biz?